Mike Portnoy’s Ex-Bandmate Reacts To Mike’s Decision To Reunite With Dream Theater

Mike Portnoy’s Winery Dogs bandmate Richie Kotzen said he supported the drummer’s decision to rejoin Dream Theater.

The guitarist recently joined a chat with The Hook Rocks podcast and talked about why he released a new solo single after his shows with the Winery Dogs and Portnoy’s reunion with his former band:

“I was of mind to follow course with the Winery Dogs as we were. We made the [‘III’] album, we did 95 shows and I was of mind to just keep going. And then, obviously, Mike [Portnoy, The Winery Dogs drummer] had the opportunity to go back to Dream Theater. And so we had a conversation and, obviously, Billy [Sheehan, The Winery Dogs bassist] and I were very supportive because we love Mike.”

Kotzen Thinks Returning To Dream Theater What Portnoy Needed

The musician continued, further sharing what he felt about Portnoy’s wish to perform with Dream Theater:

“The attitude is we love having the band, but as people, the people are more important. So if Mike has something that is dear to him and important that he is excited and motivated to do, then, obviously, that’s what he needs to do. So we had the conversation that [he had our] full support, we think it’s great. It’s exciting, actually, as a music fan. Forget about The Winery Dogs for a second and me, but as a music fan, it’s exciting. So, that’s why the touring, we put a period on it.”

The Pandemic Paved The Way For Portnoy’s Reunion With Dream Theater

Mike returned to his old band in October 2023. The drummer mentioned in an interview with Rolling Stone that he likely wouldn’t have rejoined Dream Theater if the pandemic hadn’t happened:

“Before the Covid pandemic, if you had asked me or any of these guys, ‘Was a reunion in the cards?’ I probably would’ve said, ‘I doubted that it could happen.’ I think if the lockdown hadn’t happened, you guys probably would’ve been on tour, and I would’ve been on tour with one of my 48 bands.”

Portnoy finished writing a new album with Dream Theater last month. He also completed recording his drum parts. Dream Theater has been preparing for their 40th anniversary Tour.  The European leg includes stops in 23 cities and starts on October 20 and runs through November 24.

You can listen to the full podcast below.